Saturday, 31 March 2007

Keogenic diet slows brain cancer development

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Many herbalists and nutritionists agree that fresh fruit and vegetable-based diet can be a great way to fight certain forms of cancer -- but how about calorie reduction in addition to eating well?

A report in the Nutrition & Metabolism journal has stated that a a calorically restricted ketogenic diet decreases the growth of malignant brain tumors in mice. As usual, we can always ask -- can this apply to human subjects?

Ketogenic diets are very high in fat and are generally used in cases of epilepsy patients instead of cancer fighting -- but not in this case.

How exercising makes you feel

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Sometimes it's easy to lose sight on why losing weight and getting in shape is important, especially in today's appearance-based world of skinny skinny skinny. Besides the obvious benefits of fighting obesity, exercise can do all kinds of things for your wellbeing like reduce symptoms of depression, help lower blood pressure, and improve sleep. Studies have shown that by focusing on these things -- by focusing on how being physically active makes you feel -- you can actually make it easier to stay motivated and appreciate your routine.

If you can learn to exercise in order to feel better on the inside, you'll naturally end up looking better on the outside -- talk about a nice side-effect!

The best reminder EVER to quit smoking

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We've all seen the horrible pictures of smoker's lungs compared to non-smoker's lungs -- the sticky looking black soot in place of healthy clean airways...not a pretty picture!

So if you are looking to quit, but are having trouble holding on to your motivation, maybe ashing into the Lung Ashtray by Finding Cheska will do the trick. It's actually kinda pretty (when it's clean), so sprinkling ashes and rubbing out your cigarette butts on the nice white "airways" really makes a statement, not to mention gives a nice visual reminder of what's happening to your insides with every puff.

Shrimp shell consumption could lower cholesterol levels

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If you like eating shrimp, you may be pleased to know that chitosan (derived from shrimp shells) might be useful in the fight against obesity and high cholesterol. So, continue eating that shrimp (with the most appropriate cocktail sauce, mind you).

The study concluded that the effect of chitosan on the body weight, plasma lipid profile, and fatty acid composition of rats led to reductions in weight gain and blood cholesterol levels in the rats.

Even when taken as a dietary supplement, chitosan increased the ratio of 'good' versus 'bad' cholesterol levels. Now, where are those chitosan pills...

Get fit and blast space invaders at the same time

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This is definitely one for the 'what will they think of next' category. A company called ProForm has come up with a elliptical trainer that is also a video game -- you can actually kill aliens while you pedal away. The game is actually built into the machine, so it's not dangerous like playing a Gameboy on the machine would be. AND the best part is, the harder you work, the easier the game is -- you'll be so focused on winning the game, you'll hardly notice how much you're sweating.

I was skeptical at first, but let's face it -- working out on a machine can be b-o-r-i-n-g! Anyway to break it up and find extra motivation to work hard sounds like a great idea to me. What do you think?.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Do organic crops produce better fruit and veggies?

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There are many that think conventional produce like apples, grapes and oranges don't have the nutrients they used to based on the overusage of the land where many crops are grown. After all, can you really expect the same nutrition value in fruits and vegetables these days than from, say, 30 years ago? Has the land been tilled only a few thousands times since then? Probably.

Concerned folks only buy organic produce, which is grown in lands where farmers respect the environment and practice sustainable agriculture practices as a way of life. But, is it really better produce. Yes, according to recent statements from scientists that provide evidence that organic crops contain higher levels of important nutrients when compared to normal crops.

One of the results included an analysis of organic tomatoes, apples and peaches -- all of which revealed greater concentrations of vitamin C, polyphenols, betacarotene and flavonoids.

Have a pomegranate, for your heart's sake

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The pomegranate is, for all the good press it's received lately, still amazingly unknown and obscure. I think by now most people have at least heard of the pomegranate, although many still probably have no idea what one looks like. Well if you fall into that crowd you might want to make a change, because in addition to all the health benefits most fruits and veggies give, pomegranate juice has also been shown to have a positive impact on both prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

I've actually never had a pomegranate, so in the spirit of trying new things (and being healthy in the process) I found this group of pomegranate recipes -- I'll be trying the pomegranate yogurt dip first I think.

Stem cells help with macular degeneration

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The usage of human stem cells continues to have its proponents and opponents these days. But in a recent study performed on rats (of course), special cells grown fro stem cells have been shown to protect eyesight from the problems of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness for people older than 50.

The stem cells were derived from human fetal stem cells (called "neural progenitor cells"). These cells protected the eyesight of rats eye diseases similar to human diseases. Conclusion here -- human stem cells showed that they can actually protect failing eye cells.

Are stem cells ready to be used in the treatment of various human physical ailments? So far, that question is being answered by a resounding yes.

Chinese produce and quality control

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Do you trust produce grown and processed in China? With several food scare in recent years, the growing and handling of Chinese produce is apparently increasing quite a bit and has been termed "quasi-organic" as a result.

Now, it seems odd that the recent pet food recall across the U.S. was determined to come from rat poison-contaminated wheat gluten sourced from China (by Menu Foods), so are the signals being mixed here?

It's implausible to think that the sheer volume of produce grown for over a billion people is going to be perfect, all the time. That is impossible -- but from reading this, Chinese growers and producers are making sure they catch everything they can with good practices.

Make your home healthier with these 20 tips

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Did you know that studies have shown that you eat less in a brightly lit kitchen? That's just one of the useful tips I found reading this article about creating a healthier home. Going through each of the major rooms in your home -- the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen -- the article helps you target problem areas all over your house.

For instance, those of you who have trouble sleeping (and I know there's a lot of you), try to keep your bedroom as quiet as peaceful as possible. That may mean leaving your laptop in the living room and removing the TV, but once you teach your body that the bedroom is for sleeping, it will help you relax and get in those zzzzzs. Other tips include putting in quality, but indirect light, in your living room and (if you can do so without flashing the neighbors) leaving the blinds up in your bathroom so that the bright, natural light will reset your body's clock each morning.

So if you're getting ready to spring clean, take a look at these tips and see if you can improve the "health" of your home!

Sedentary behavior and high blood sugar

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Do you have what is considered to be a "sedentary lifestyle?" This would be a desk job during the day, very little physical movement before and after work (like taking elevators instead of stairs and watching TV instead of walking around the block). If you have this type of lifestyle recent research shows that you may be likely to have high levels of glucose in your blood.

Even though you may not be diabetic (yet), a recent study from Australia concluded the above after examining the association between television viewing and blood glucose levels.

Conclusion (only in women, interestingly): the more time women spent television viewing, the higher were their blood glucose levels two hours after they took the glucose test-drink. Result: get more exercise, whether it be walking or actually some kind of regular exercise on equipment. Something...anything.

Stick to chocolate bunnies: Easter chicks spread salmonella

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It might be hard, but as much as you want to surprise your child with that cute little chick on Easter morning, health officials say it's a better bet to let the birds stay at the farm.

The CDC reports that in 2006, baby chicks were implicated in causing three outbreaks of salmonella -- sickening nearly 100 patients -- across the country and warn that children under 5 shouldn't be handling the animals. The germ is carried in the animals' feces, which can be spread onto clothing, furniture, and anything else the chick comes across. The majority of chicks, who are commonly found at agricultural feed stores this time of year, come from only 20 different hatcheries across the country. Some of those hatcheries have been repeatedly blamed for causing salmonella outbreaks caused by baby-poultry.

Personally, I think that unless you have a barnyard, you have no business bringing home a farm animal that you'll likely later want to dispose of. Take your kids to the petting farm and let them get their fill of baby animals, but if you celebrate Easter, fill their basket with goodies that don't require pet care!

Get the lead out -- of your house, that is

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Living in a home that's nearly 100 years old has its perks -- high ceilings, amazing woodwork, and plenty of character. There are also some drawbacks: a spooky cistern in the basement, the constant hum of renovation, and lead paint.

When we moved into our house, I researched lead paint pretty thoroughly, knowing we'd eventually have a family. We couldn't afford abatement, so it seemed our best bet was to cover it (mostly with drywall) or replace parts of our home altogether. Our children had their lead levels monitored at age 1, and so far, we seem to be ok.

Though we've taken pains to protect our children from the lead paint we know exists in our home, many children live in homes where families are unaware of the lead danger, don't know what to do about it, or can't afford repairs. Experts now say that children should not just be monitored for lead poisoning in their toddler years, when lead levels typically peak, but throughout their childhood. Lead exposure is known to cause learning and behavior problems, and no one really knows how lead exposure affects the older child.

Continue reading Get the lead out -- of your house, that is

That's Fit Weekly Podcast #5: March 30, 2007

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We're always looking for fresh and innovative ways to blog about news and trends fit for helping you live a healthy life. Now, thanks to Saturn, we bring a new voice to our efforts with the launch of our That's Fit Weekly Podcast. Each Thursday, we'll go from blogger to broadcaster as we discuss topics relevant to pursuing your health and fitness goals.

In the fifth and final program of our Spring Into Fitness series, our topic is Foolproof Ways to Boost Your Energy.

Even with spring heading into full force, many of us may still feel run down, lacking in energy and prone to colds. Do you feel tired from the minute you pick your head up from the pillow in the morning until it falls back there at night? Are you battling exhaustion with coffee so you can check off just one more item on your to-do list? Or, do you skip activities you might enjoy because you "just don't have the energy?"

It's okay to be tired after a long, invigorating day filled with activities you love. But far too many of us are chronically exhausted all the way to the bone, brought on by multiple roles and tasks that create energy-zapping stress. To put the spring back into your step, follow these 9 simple tips to give you the boost you need.

Have comments on our current shows or ideas for future podcasts? Or, do you have a burning health and fitness question you'd like answered on an upcoming installment? Comment right here and we'll do our best to provide the helpful information you're looking for!

There are several ways to receive the That's Fit Weekly podcast: Subscribe to our RSS feed, through iTunes, or just hit the MP3 file directly -- your choice!

Receive That's Fit Weekly Podcast using one of these methods:
[RSS] Add The That's Fit Weekly Podcast feed to your RSS feedreader and have it delivered automatically
[MP3] Download the podcast directly
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast directly in Apple iTunes

Kristi Anderson

File Format
9:02:00 length, 8.28 MB size, MP3 format (64kbps)

Intro/Outro Music (great workout music!)
Song: Sound Scientist

April 5, 2007 Program: We kick off our new April series -- "Step It Up" -- by talking about how to push past exercise plateaus.

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Daily Fit Tip: The best exercises need no equipment

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I'm a total sucker for every "exercise gimmick of the week" that comes along so I've got quite the closet full of unused workout gear. It's not that I think I have to have that stuff to get in shape, but it does make it easier to motivate sometimes when I have something fun to use! But the truth is that some of the best strength training workouts need zero gear. Nada. Nothing. And I'm no expert, but you may even be able to safely do some of them barefoot...

This article lists several extremely effective moves that use only the body's weight for resistance -- and although they all look challenging there's one that looks harder than all the rest: the single leg squat. The author, when explaining how the move works, suggests starting at "0-1" reps, and working your way up to 2 full ones on each side.

Let me know how that goes! (Yeah, yeah...I'll try it too)

Fit Factor: It's more fun on the water

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Well, folks, summer's coming and there's nothing I like more to do when it's hot out than spend a good chunk of time in the water, whether I'm swimming through it or floating over it. What are your favourite water activities? Me, I love canoeing, rafting, tubing and wake boarding. Spending time in a boat is a great way to enjoy the sun and get some activity, so if, like me, you're growing tired of the treadmill, I suggest you head to the nearest lake or ocean for some fun on the water. It's not the first activity that people think of for fitness, but it's fun and it can be a great workout if you want it to be.

For those of you who crave activity, you can spend your water time riding the rapids in a raft or kayak. All you need is a fast-moving river, life jackets and, or course, a boat, but if you're a novice, be sure to seek out the advice of someone who knows the river.

Continue reading Fit Factor: It's more fun on the water

Working in the Workouts: Got eight minutes to spare?

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Owen and MommyEach week, Debbie will share her goals, challenges, successes and tips on how to fit in fitness when caring for a rambunctious toddler.

Well, here I am, newfound motivation at the ready. Am I chomping at the bit to start fitting in the fitness? Not exactly, but I am ready to take baby steps toward regaining my fitness and "me" time.

Where to start . . . Pre-baby, one of my favorite fitness pieces to my day was Jorge Cruise's Eight Minutes in the Morning. I had done this strength training workout for years with amazing results for the amount of time I put into it. The book highlights an eating plan as well, but instead, I focused on the two-muscle-groups-a-day exercises, as I don't like anyone to manage my portion control except me.

Continue reading Working in the Workouts: Got eight minutes to spare?

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Spring pollen getting to you?

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Allergy season is coming into full bloom with spring. Medicines help treat allergy symptoms once they strike, but here are a few hints that can help you prevent symptoms altogether. It is time for that good spring cleaning for your home and your nasal passages that should be put into your everyday routine.

The fresh air is great in the spring tempting us to open our windows and let that cross breeze flow through the house. But if you or your spouse or child are an allergy sufferer you should keep those windows closed and use air conditioning if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans since they can stir up dust. Filter the air. There are many brands of air filtration systems that you can put in individual rooms to help filter allergens out of the air. One helpful hint is to cover your air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to filter pollen and use high efficiency particulate air filters. Clean air filters or replace them frequently, once or twice a month. This not only cuts down on allergies but also the electric bill. Clean your home air ducts at least once a year. Keep the humidity in your house below 50 percent to prevent mold growth by using dehumidifiers and especially in the basement where mold is more likely to collect. Be sure to clean your dehumidifiers and filtration systems once a week also. Wash your bedding every week in hot water and vacuum twice a week. If you have indoor pets you should vacuum 4 times a week to cut down on animal dander and also bathe your pets often. Most important is don't allow smoking in your home.

Now that we have cleaned up your home, here is one helpful hint to clean up your nasal passages. Nettie Pots are great for cleaning out the sinus areas. A Nettie Pot is a small ceramic, long spouted, teapot where you put a simple salt and warm water solution and poor into your nose with your head tilted to one side. This flushes out all kinds of stuff. Be sure to do both nostrils.
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Growing older means getting more...positive?

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The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently did some research on aging, and surprise surprise they actually came up with something good to say! When a group of older adults and younger adults were both shown groups of positive images, neutral images, and negative images, the older adults reacted more evenly to the positive and negative, while the younger set responded most to the negative pictures.

What does this mean? Researchers are saying it means that older adults are more balanced, and therefore more positive in general regarding their outlooks. Unfortunately, other than a nice bit of news, it doesn't really mean much -- yet anyway. Research will continue towards developing some real-life applications.

New potential asthma therapy burns off muscle in the lungs

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If you've ever suffered an asthma attack, you know how miserable the disease can be. People with moderate to severe asthma, who suffer attacks on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis, truly suffer a lesser quality of life when their asthma is not under good control. Medications have improved over the last few years, but reducing the number of attacks and increasing the number of symptom-free days remains high priority for doctors and patients alike.

A new therapy currently in testing is showing promise, though I have to admit the idea of it took me back a little bit. Researchers are testing a method called "bronchial thermoplasty," and it involves sending a tube with a camera down the nose and into the airways. Once there, doctors can activate a probe that widens the airways and heats up smooth muscle with radio-frequency energy. The heat burns off smooth muscle, which is partially responsible for constriction of the airways. An average of 100 to 200 different airways are treated over three visits.

Participants in the study had 50% fewer attacks and two to three times the amount of symptom-free days compared to how they felt before treatment. One woman in the article said the treatment didn't so much change her life as it did return her life to a normal one, without so much fear of not being able to breathe. The method needs more testing, but if you can get past the idea of burning off the smooth muscle in your airways, it may just offer hope to asthmatics in the future.

Fitting a Bike Helmet

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Tis the season for outdoor sports, and biking is always a popular one. Whether it's your kids or yourself, wearing a bike helmet is a necessity - traumatic brain injuries are easier to come by than you might think. And there's very little point in bothering to wear a helmet if it doesn't fit right, so take a look at these tips for fitting a bike helmet:

  • Adjust the padding so the helmet fits snug, but not too tight, and as low on the head as possible for the most protection.
  • Make sure the helmet fits securely to stay in place even through vigorous shaking or, heaven forbid, a hard knock to the head.
  • The helmet shouldn't move when the buckle is fastened (it shouldn't hurt or pinch, either. You don't want to be tempted to unbuckle it).
  • When you open your mouth wide you should feel the helmet pull down slightly.
  • When you're wearing the helmet and you look up you should just see the rim slightly, and the "Y" on each side of your head should come together just below your ears.

Are you being wise about your beauty?

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Are you "wise about beauty?" When thinking of natural ways to improve one's beauty or when considering cosmetic surgery even, wise and well-researched choices are always of paramount importance if you want to choose the most correct course of action for whatever goal(s) you may have.

The website was designed to help people understand that there are common misconceptions about plastic and cosmetic surgery that simply aren't true. After watching this YouTube video below, this makes sense from a practical perspective.

If you're thinking about plastic surgery to assist you in achieving those "beautiful" goals, what conclusions have you reached? I'd be interested in hearing from readers in the comments section below.

Don't play with your health

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Many people (myself included), are guilty of not taking their health seriously. We've been told a million times (at least), that if we don't make it a priority, we'll pay for it later (blah blah, yadda yadda), but do we listen? Probably not.

Therefore, governments are forever trying to come up with new ways to break through our health and fitness apathy. This clever ad from the Ministry of Health of Portugal is a great example, as it certainly does a good job at grabbing your attention.

The ad's tag line is: "Don't Play With Your Health. Check Your Cholesterol."


[via Neatorama]

Arthritis weaves its way into many workplaces

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Many of us suffer from arthritis, which can turn hands and feet into aching limbs instead of productive, everyday tools. The workplace has a lot to lose from employees with arthritis, as a new study estimates that 7 million U.S. adults are limited in the workplace due to arthritis issues.

In other numbers, that figure represents about 30% of people with arthritis who are 18-64 years old. That's quite a few people in the workplace, is it not?

Although the study's participants tended to be older, the figure still resounds with authority in terms of the overall population in the workforce working everyday with slight or large pain from arthritis. Workplaces and businesses, as a result, are losing untold amounts of productivity while arthritis sufferers slog it through every workday.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Fitku: Smoothie Love

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Anyone love a good smoothie as much as I do? Anyone crazy enough to write a Fitku about it? Yeah, that's me . . .

Vitamix churning
Cherries, mango, vanilla
Nutrients to go

Not inspired to create your own smoothie Fitku? Or even your own smoothies? Try some of these recipes for smoothies, and maybe you'll be writing some Fitku love in no time.

Americanized Chinese is full of unhealthy stuff

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Go to any town in North America and you're sure to find a Chinese restaurant with the same offerings: Stir-frys, fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls ... the list goes on and on, and pretty much everything is battered, deep fried and loaded with salt. This is a far cry from traditional Chinese food, which is full of healthy stuff like veggies and tofu, but the unhealthy stuff is still wildly popular in the States and beyond.

Chinese food had been getting a lot of bad press as of late, and I think it's great to bring people's attention to the fact that a single dish usually has twice your daily recommended serving of sodium and fat.

So what can you do if you find yourself out at your local Chinese joint? According to this, order veggie and shrimp dishes, opt for things that are steamed, and choose stir-fried over deep-fried.

Forgot your fitness gear? Don't fret at Fairmont

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As the world moves toward becoming a healthier, more fitness-friendly place, Fairmont is hopping on board by offering gently-used Adidas fitness wear to guests who want to use the gym but forgot their gym shoes back at home. Mens and womens running shoes are available, as well as loose-fitting t-shirts and shorts. The catch? you need to be a member of the Fairmont President's Club. Sounds prestigious, huh? But don't worry -- membership is free. Fitness wear can be used in-room, in the gym, or even outside. I think it's a great idea ... what about you?

To sign up for a President's Club Membership, visit

FitBeauty: Pamper your piggies

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Whether you spend hours of your day pounding the pavement in shock-absorbent running shoes or standing in stilettos, you are probably putting your feet through a work out just by doing your daily routine.

If you add in ill-fitting shoes you had to have, socks with the tiniest and most irritating hole in the toe, a nagging blister, hot pavement, a callous that never goes away, not getting a seat on the subway, an extra long go on any given machine at the gym...well, face it. Your feet are cashed.

How can you expect them to carry you at all -- let alone with strength, power, endurance, grace, assurance, sassy steppiness -- if you don't treat your feet to some delicious down time once in a while? Strip off those stinky sweat socks, peel off your overworked pantyhose, flick out the lint from between your tired toes and baby your feet with DIY pedicure.

Here is a pedicure that'll get your feet ready for whatever they slip into this spring. Take your time and do what feels good. Happy feet are as easy as 1-2-...OK, 14 steps.

Tootsie tools you may want to have on hand (and foot):
Cotton balls
Nail polish remover
Emory board with a buffer
Nail clippers
Pumice stone
Hard-bristled brush or nail brush
Gentle soap
Exfoliating or foot cream
Cuticle cream and orange stick or cuticle stick
Moisturizing cream
Bowl or bath of very warm water
Two hand towels
One large towel

Prep your piggies:
Get clean. You'd expect your nail salon to be de-germed so spend a few minutes scrubbing and rinsing the tub. No need to get all Bree about it, just make sure that your not staring at a drain trap full of gunk while you're trying to make your feet sparkle. My Paula Abdul pick: I keep a bottle of Trader Joe's (eco-friendly and sandalwood-smelling) multi-purpose cleaner under the sink to prep for any kind of bathtub soaking. Next, soap up your feet, ankles and up your calves, then rinse and pat dry.

Get comfy. If your pedi palace is your loo, make it feel luxurious. Pad the edge of the tub or wherever you'll be sitting with a fluffy towel. Light candles, play music, spray a mix of essential oil and water for a fresh and inviting smell. Slip into your PJs or at least something that doesn't restrict as you bend over for major foot babying.

Get nakey. At least below the ankle (the rest is between you and your medicine cabinet mirror). Remove any nail polish completely. If your nails have a tinge of pink or yellow from polish, buff your nails lightly to slough off the discoloration (and next time, be sure to apply a base coat to keep your nails fresh).

Get hydrated. Turn on the faucet and fill the bathtub, a big bowl or your barely-used whirlpool footbath with water that feels wonderfully warm.

I also recommend hydrating yourself with a glass of fizzy water with lemon or perhaps a favorite vino for the occasion, just like you'd get at a much spendier (and less intimate) spa. Drink it all in -- the relaxation, the peacefulness and the precious you time.

Get to work:
Trim. Use clippers and cut your toenails straight across. No need to get all crazy like your hacking away at a brush path on Lost. Squoval toenails (square with a slightly rounded edge) look lovely and feel much better than filed-into-the-nailbed or rounded off Eartha Kitt imitations. Concerned about length (and aren't we all, really)? Place your finger straight across your big toe. If your nail is just shy of touching your finger, you've got a good length. Of course, your preference rules here and your length will vary if you wear cleats or other toe-annihilating footwear.

Soak your feet for as long as it takes in your waiting pool of warm water.

Take it up a notch. Sure, a warm water soak feels super, but if you're going to do it, why not really do it? This recipe for a Minty Lime Pedicure by All Natural Me is deeeeevinely refreshing. If you want to keep it simple but would like a taste of spa-luxe, throw some leftover lemon slices, epsom salts, rose petals from your garden, oil or a few squirts of your favorite body lotion into the basin.

. Once your feet have floated into complete relaxation, gently wake them up by working exfoliating cream into your heels, toes and arches. Next, use the pumice stone to tenderly wear down callouses and cracked heels. Remember: tickling is fine, wincing is bad. Don't overdo this or tomorrow's walk to work or tennis class will not be pretty.

Stir. Once you've properly sloughed the rough skin, get the blood moving in your feet. Dip a hard-bristled brush especially for foot care (or, in a pinch, a nail brush will do) in your water a few times and then rub in circular motions over the top of your foot, around your ankle, up your leg to your knee, back down your calf, and giving good, scrubby attention to your heels, arch and ball on the underside of your foot. Next, give your toes a few good swipes. Don't forget to give the same attention to your other foot. One more gentle reminder: This circulation-stirrer should not be reminiscent of the scene in Mommy Dearest when Joan Crawford tries to scour the evil from her face.

Drench two hand towels in more warm water, then twist until they no longer drip. Wrap each foot in the damp towels. Take some deep breaths, sit back, sip your beverage and let a little more time slip on by. Once the towels cool, take them off and smoothe on some moisturizing cream. A couple of recommendations: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Cream and St. Ives Aloe & Chamomile Healing & Natural Lotion are inexpensive, cooling, creamy and favorites for my own feet.

Now give yourself a good massage. A really good massage. Use your knuckles to put some (again, gentle) pressure in your arches. Place your fingers between your toes and loosen up the squished-together spaces. Rub your calves and lightly press your thumbs down the top of your feet. Finish up with some ankle circles and toe wiggles to loosen everything down there up. More than the polish, I truly believe pedicures are all about the rubbing, so be sure to spend the time and apply the pressure you need to really pamper your tootsies.

Put on the finishing touches:
Push back. First apply a stripe of cuticle cream across the bottom of each nail. Massage the cream into each nail. Use an orange stick or rounded cuticle stick to push the cuticles back a bit. If you don't have those tools, your fingernail will do fine. Don't even look at your clippers while you are working on your cuticles. It just isn't worth drawing blood or risking infection.

Pat down. Brush off any remaining bits and towel off any drippy bits. Give yourself one last lathering of lotion. Slip on socks or slippers to keep your feet clean and fresh.

Paint. Only if you're a polish kind of pamperer. Otherwise, you might want to buff a bit or rub a tiny drop of oil into each nail. Make sure your paint dries completely (which gives you time to finish up the crossword puzzle in your People mag and take a few last swigs of your chardonnay).

Put your feet up.
After all this good lovin', camp out on the couch or curl up with a book for a while, taking pause to take in your gorgeous, rejuvenated toes.

Let the serenity rise up from your southernmost tips knowing that you are fully ready for the onset of flip-flop season!

Have any pedicure how-tos you'd like to share? Fill us in on your tips for treat ing your feet well.

Daily Fit Tip: Don't quit coffee

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I don't know about you, but I'm pretty dopey without my morning cup o'Joe. I don't drink much coffee, but a cup in the morning with some soy milk is a major prerequisite for having a productive day. There was a time when I felt my coffee habit was bad for me, but nowadays, it's thought that coffee isn't all that bad for you. In fact, it's good for you! Coffee has been linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, and it has powerful antioxidants, which help slow down the aging process. It's important to keep in mind that this isn't a green light to drink 17 cups a day - 1 or 2 will do just fine.

Find your flat stomach (it's in there somewhere)

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So it's important not to get over-excited and over-work your ab muscles trying to get that elusive 6-pack we all dream of, but what if you're working everything supposedly just right and still can't seem to flatten things up? I guess this explains why a nice stomach is so highly prized, but unfortunately it's not that easy! Along with good toning exercises like crunches you also need to eat right and burn additional calories with cardio. You may even consider changing the way you eat by having your biggest meal of the day at lunch instead of dinner, and limiting starches and carbs late at night.

Seeing my stomach (without the excess flab) is soooooo my goal for this summer!

Why isn't finance taught in public schools these days?

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One of the great disservices to high school students these days is the lack of a base course in personal finance in the standard curriculum. In fact, learning about finance while you're young is quite a bit more important for future success than such a heavy concentration on history, yes? Money fitness can be just as important as physical fitness in many ways, after all.

Not that there are problems with the curriculum of most high schools in the U.S., but learning about finance can set a student up with a firm understanding of how to handle money -- and how not to as well. From a "healthy kid" standpoint, learning a little bit about money will easily be a life lesson that will be used in the future.

So why isn't it taught? Beats me. But, if schools really want to best prepare students for the "real world", a little less concentration on other subjects and a little more in responsible money handling may be a decent move.

Will this allergy season be a bad one?

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With seasonal allergies in full swing in many states around the U.S. and many countries around the world right now, is the best or worst to come?

It's not even April yet and in my part of the U.S., it's like May already -- flowers blooming, trees growing, yards being mowed -- and allergies going crazy. Experts say it's hard to predict what this weird weather means for allergy sufferers, but I have an answer -- they are here early and are just as bad as I've ever seen them.

Here's hoping that the pollen shedding stops soon so myself and those I know can get a break from all the "natural goodness" i the air right now. It's not pleasant.

It's swimsuit season again -- choose what's right for your body

It's time to gear up for bathing suit season. Or, if your like me, it's already here as I gear up for a trip to Mexico on Saturday. Maybe this year, you will get your body lean, toned and totally bathing-suit ready. Or maybe, like last year, you'll end up with the same old shape when it's time to hit the beach. If that's the case, don't worry -- just make sure to pick up a suit that flatters your curves. Glee Magazine has put together this guide for choosing the right swimsuit, with handy tips on how to maximize or reduce your bust, make your butt look bigger, hide tummy rolls and much more. The most important thing, though, is to love your body, curves and all, and enjoy your time in the sun while it lasts. With sunscreen, of course.

Dermatologist shortage?

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If you have an important skin issue, like acne, an eczema flare-up, or even a suspicious-looking mole or freckle, good luck getting in to see a dermatologist. A recent experiment by researchers in California confirmed what many have suspected for years: there just aren't enough dermatologists available to meet the rising demand. The researchers called around to make appointments for a "changing mole," and in the vast majority of cases were given really long wait times -- upwards of one to two months. They attribute the shortage to a general increase in patients seeking care and treatment for skin issues (everything from skin cancer to Botox injections) as opposed to fewer dermatologists on the scene.

On the good side -- the health care field just keeps getting better and better as far as career opportunities go.

If you indulge in chocolate, use these wise choices

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If you are a chocolate fan, you're probably aware of those "cravings" you get from time to time. You know, ones that can wreck a diet and pack a pound or two back after a weeklong struggle to lose a few pounds.

A standard Hershey's chocolate bar packs 230 calories and 13 grams of fat -- not the best choice for that craving. But, there are some sensible chocolate choices that can get you some much-needed chocolate without crashing everything around you. Some choices from eDiets that feature less than 100 calories include:

1. 4 Hershey's Kisses (100 calories)
2. 1 cup diet hot cocoa and 1 chocolate graham cracker (80 calories)
3. 1 JELL-O fat-free chocolate pudding snack (100 calories)
4. 1 Quaker Chocolate Crunch popcorn cake (60 calories)
5. 1 cup strawberries drizzled with1 Tbsp. fat-free hot fudge (100 calories)
6. 1/2 cup fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt (100 calories)
7. 20 chocolate-covered raisins (80 calories)
8. 1/2 cup General Mills Cocoa Puffs cereal (60 calories)
9. 2 Snackwell's Devil's Food Cookie Cakes (100 calories)
10. 2 bite-size York Peppermint Patties (100 calories)

Facts to know about getting those brite pearly whites

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If you don't think that people want a bright cheery smile, then do a quick google search on your computer with the phrase "Teeth Whitening" and you will find almost 3 million website to visit. Teeth whitening is the number one requested dental cosmetic service these days and not just in the dentist's office. Americans spend more than a billion dollars on over-the-counter teeth-whitening products annually.

Factors to consider before bleaching or whitening your teeth are age, gum disease, and sensitivity. Teeth whitening is also not recommended in pregnant or lactating women. Some more important factors to know is that teeth whitening is not suitable for all types of teeth and you can over do it. Whitening will not help people with tetracycline staining stains and darkness in their teeth. If you have fillings in the front teeth the fillings will not change but the teeth will leaving you with patchy looking teeth. There have been cases where people have turned their teeth blue because they've gone past the point of using it regularly and they're using it way too much. It is important to follow the instructions on the packaging. With so many products on the market how do you choose what works best for you. You can always ask your friendly pharmacist and research which products are backed by the American Dental Association.

Having how many children makes you happy?

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Are you planning o having kids or already have one or two (or more)? Financially speaking, raising one or even two kids these days is anything but a cheap affair, and in developed countries where parents feel the financial pinch, birthrates have dropped accordingly.

Of course, having children is not about the monetary resources (although that should weigh in the decision, right?), but based on conventional wisdom, people become parents because children bring joy. But do they really?

A recent study looked at happiness levels in adult identical twins -- some of whom are parents and some who aren't. Conclusion: mothers with one child are about 20% happier than their childless counterparts and men enjoy an almost 75% -- and second and third children don't add to parents' happiness at all.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Canada mulls banning smoking in apartments

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Smoking seems to be under attack worldwide as people realize that secondhand smoke can be just as devastating to non-smokers as those who smoke cigarettes. The freedom to smoke in your own home or in the open air are still placed where smokers can go to smoke, but if Toronto, Canada gets its way, smoking may be banned from apartment buildings.

What do you think? Smoking in apartment buildings, which generally have interconnected airways for ventilation, can expose non-smoking residents to secondhand smoke -- definitely not a good thing. But then again, one's own living quarters is about the only place left for many to smoke these days with public bans coming to countries around the globe.

Whole grain fan? Search for amaranth

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Are you a whole-grain eater? Many of us choose breakfast time to eat those whole grains in the form of a whole-wheat bagel or unsweetened breakfast cereal. Ever check to see if amaranth is in that whole grain mix, though?

Grain amaranth, like many whole grains, has a high protein count and is a great addition to that whole grain diet when you can find it. Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe, a Food Scientist, says that "Grain amaranth has a higher protein quality and quantity than most cereals and grains."

Next time you are looking for that healthy breakfast cereal, check to see if amaranth is included, and choose the one that has it over one that doesn't. Take the taste test and see what you think!

The truth about airplane food

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Here's a shocking admission. I like airplane food. Well, mostly. I had some pretty dodgy chicken in my last cross-pacific flight, but other than that I've typically enjoyed my meals. But most people don't and there may be more to that than meet the eye. According to this, the real problem with airplane food is that at 30,000 feet, your digestive system doesn't work as it usually does, and it's harder for you to digest meal that are high in fat or protein. Also, you tend to lose water when you fly, so to keep everything, erm, moving along, you need to consume more liquids. So the next time you fly, pick the pasta over the steak, eat your vegetables and be sure to ask for extra water.

How does your diet play a role in eczema?

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If you suffer from eczema, I don't envy you. It runs in my family and while I've been lucky with my skin, several relatives of mine struggle with the dreaded condition that leaves them itchy and uncomfortable and prevents them from using so many products on their sensitive skin. But according to this, eczema might not simply be a skin disorder -- it may be symptomatic of something bigger such as a food sensitivity or allergy. That leads to the question: just what role does one's diet play in eczema? Exclusion diets can often give answers as to what foods, if any, trigger or improve the skin condition, but in the meantime, it's best to talk to your doctor. Of course, maintaining a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle should help if you don't already.

I'm interested in hearing from Eczema suffers -- have you found that certain foods have contributed to your symptoms?

Ask Fitz! Your Fitness Questions Answered

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Have fitness questions? Fitz has your answer. Our fitness expert -- and now your own virtual personal trainer -- will help you get fit, increase your overall health and do it in a fun way. Drop your questions here in the Comments section below and we'll choose two per week to publish on That's Fit! Learn more about Fitz here.

Q.Hey Fitz, I just don't like veggies. Do I really need to eat them, or can I take a multivitamin instead. Aaron.

A. Wow Aaron! Out of the hundreds of veggies out there, you don't like any? That seems odd. It's funny. Even though I started teaching fitness at age 18,I too refused to eat any sort of vegetables except for those found in a house salads until I turned 21. I had a mental block against them and considered them gross I guess. Funny thing happened to change my mind. I met the most gorgeous guy in the planet and he cooked me chicken and broccoli one night. I was totally grossed out, but wanting to impress this man.....I gave em a try. Turns out I actually did like broccoli. I also ended up loving the onions and peppers he grilled and put on top of pizza the next week.

I didn't like veggies because I hadn't tried them. I predict you're in the same boat. Veggies are vital to a well balanced diet. They're huge on vitamins, high on fiber and low in calories. Why wouldn't you want to make an effort to love these things? They'll keep your skin pretty, nails strong, vision clearer and digestive system moving at a super pace. Nonetheless! I now love veggies and crave them in large quantities. I also married that hot guy who introduced me to the. So I say, "Try them, try them Sam I AM! You will like cauliflower and yams!"

Q. I had my daughter three years ago and although I have lost a lot of the pregnancy weight, I have been left with a deflated belly. Just a saggy, loose flabby belly. I have been told there is nothing I can do to tighten loose skin. Can I re-tighten my stomach? Or is liposuction/tummy tuck the only solution? Not that I would go that route. Brenda

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Workplace Fitness: Ten reasons to encourage fitness at work

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Whether you're in management and have employees under you who may be affected, or if you're just a "peon" looking to influence your employer towards a more health-conscious culture at work, the reasons for encouraging fitness and health at work are pretty much undebatable. What it really comes down to is that healthy people are productive people, and having productive people in a place of business is always a good thing. So if you're compiling a case for your boss to start up a wellness program, or just looking for your own inspiration, here are 10 reasons to encourage fitness and health at work:
  • Reduced absenteeism and reduced health care costs. Fitness boosts the immune system, so fit employees are less likely to catch every cold that makes its way around the office and call in sick or visit the doctor.
  • Higher productivity. Fit employees have more energy, and are better able to stay focused and work harder and faster than out of shape, sleepy workers.

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How many calories ... in Sushi?

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I recently spent over a month travelling with two calorie-conscious girlfriends. During our trip, we ate a lot of sushi because one, it's delicious; two, it's a healthy choice amongst the array of deep-fried and fat-filled offerings that dominate the dining landscape; and three, we were right by the ocean and reveled the opportunity to get fresh seafood. But I can't help but wonder: with all that rice, is sushi really the best choice calorie-wise? It has lots of valuable vitamins and minerals like omega 3s, but if you're watching your waistline, would it be better to choose something else?

Let's investigate. An average sushi meal that we had would consist of a California roll (6 pieces), possibly another roll of something with a bit of pizazz, let's say a shrimp tempura roll (again, 6 pieces), and maybe a serving of edamame if we were really hungry. How many calories and fat would be in this meal? Would it be:

a) 962 cal, 46 g of fat
b) 863 cal, 31 g of fat
c) 555 cal, 26 g of fat
d) 231 cal, 2 g of fat

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